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What is an internet firewall and do I need one?

Question: What is an internet firewall and do I need one?

Answer: A firewall is either a hardware or software that acts to control data traffic over different zones of trust. Firewalls vary greatly in their use and level at which they operate. Large local networks will usually be protected by hardware firewalls integrated with other network devices. A single PC may only be protected by a software-based personal firewall. Firewalls can operate at different layers of network protocols. Some will function at a very low level, only allowing packets that match specific rules. Others operate on an application basis either allowing or forbidding programs from communicating over the internet. Ultimately the most important feature of a firewall is to prevent unauthorized access from a computer or network. Weather or not you need one depends entirely on your use of the internet and the level at which you value your information. More than likely a software-based personal firewall will be adequate for the average home user.

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